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Fairness plays a large role in employee satisfaction

Those who feel cheated out of what they believe is theirs quickly become disengaged and could eventually cause problems within their departments.

It can be difficult for managers to balance the many different personalities on their teams. Workers compete for attention, promotions, additional pay and better assignments, which can lead to a harsh office environment if businesses are not careful. While initially it may seem like a good thing to have staff members striving for recognition within their organizations, companies that fail to maintain a sense of fairness during this process can see high turnover and lower employee satisfaction.

The Symbolist reported that a sense of fairness is vital to office morale. Those who feel cheated out of what they believe is theirs quickly become disengaged and could eventually cause problems within their departments. The source noted that most cases of fairness come down to recognition and praise. If staff members feel that an individual, either a boss or a coworker, always receives credit for their hard work, it discourages them from putting forth their best effort.

Businesses can develop a good working environment by taking time to acknowledge individuals' contributions through reward and recognition programs. These initiatives provide the tools for supervisors or coworkers to nominate people for rewards. The process can be made public for everyone to see, which removes mistrust from the office environment and helps build more cohesive units.

Balancing fairness and competitive drive
However, a recent article in Psychology Today stated that companies often look down on fairness. Citing a study from 2011 by the Harvard Business Review, the source noted that managers who were considered fair by their teams would often lose promotions to managers who were perceived as less objective. To get ahead in their own careers, managers need to be seen as assertive and in control, which requires them to step on a few toes.

The article stated that this should be a warning to businesses, as it shows a disconnect between engagement strategies and actual career development. This mixed message is exactly the type of element that limit firms' ability to show fairness to personnel. Fortunately, employee reward programs provide businesses with a way to push staff members while keeping things balanced. These initiatives establish clear guidelines for performance that can be used to judge past success. In essence, everyone knows the rules they will need to abide by in order to advance their careers. Someone who has accumulated a lot of recognition and praise from his or her peers is obviously a hard worker. In this way, reward programs provide a clear track record of performance that can be factored into evaluations.

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